Monday, September 24, 2018

Cabin Baggage, and the baggage that airline passengers carry

I noticed a small piece in a daily email sent to me about airline travel.  I had particular significance to me because I had experienced firsthand the fallout from inconsiderate passengers and their carry on baggage.  The point in the email quote the airline saying that it was now going to police the size of carry-on bags.

We have all seen these inconsiderate passengers, pulling a large case, or one that appears to be very heavy, expecting it to fit, which most of the time they barely do, and to expect others to help lift a bag that is way over the 8-kilogram limit.

When I travel on any airline I make sure my carry on baggage conforms to the requirements.  Airlines have a piece of equipment both at check in and at the gate in which passengers can see if their baggage conforms.  Most people I see trying this fail.  And this occurs within full view of the gate staff, and even the cabin crew, and neither attempt to advise the passenger or stop them from taking the baggage on board.

What happens when the plane is boarding rapidly descends into a farce, and the people who have followed the guidelines, put their bags in the overhead locker and take their seats, very quickly find those who arrive late with oversize bags cause two problems, other peoples bags removed and put under their feet, and when the bags are too heavy or too large, it required more than one attendant to sort out the problem.

In my case when I stated that I was being penalized for actually following the guidelines, I was verbally attacked by the passenger with the over-sized case and treated very badly by the attendant.  Needless to say, I have never traveled on that airline again.

I have been on airlines that have various means of countering this problem.  One is to strictly enforce it at check-in and is probably the best way to prevent boarding issues, and another, which given the airline most flexibility, to tag the over-sized bags and advise the passenger if there is no room in the overhead locker, it will be put with the normal baggage.  Passengers know where they stand, and cabin staff is not left having to apologist, or in my particular case, become abrupt to the point of being rude.

Perhaps that is why the airline had very quietly introduced this 'new' ruling on cabin baggage, a policy they should have simply enforced, because it is obvious I was not the only customer who voted with their feet.

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